The curious case of the cannabis Aphid - The Electrum Report
It was early 2016, during the first few months of Oregon’s legal recreational marijuana market, and a Portland company was running a “grow the best clone” contest. And the clones received by Bailey and his partners at Bull Run, a craft “farm-to-jar” cannabis brand with cultivation operations in Boring, Oregon, had bugs. Before long, friends and colleagues—many of whom had participated in the same clone contest—noticed similar bugs crawling on some of their crops. “Having said that, it is possible it was here in low levels or misidentified from the start.” Even after they were identified, the aphids continued to spread across the state. Like any crop, cannabis plants are susceptible to a host of biological threats. A few years before Bailey confronted the insects crawling on his clones, growers in Oregon and Northern California grappled with a particularly virulent outbreak of hemp russet mites, bugs that routinely plague both indoor and outdoor cannabis crops. More accurately he is a pest guy—an expert in mites, beetles, and other insects that regularly plague farmers. The first confirmed sighting of the cannabis aphid in North America was in 2016, he said, the same year as the Portland clone contest. “Somebody brought it here on a cutting.” Critter Control The growers at Hi-Fi Farms, a large cultivator near Portland, first heard about the cannabis aphid through the ODA alert. “If you let it get out of control,” said Bailey at Bull Run, “it’s really your own fault.”